The play begins on Christmas of 1965 (hence the holiday tie-in) with Coco and her older brother Tom reading her 13-year-old diary and saying goodbye to their childhood home, soon to be donated to the state of Minnesota. As Coco and Tom read from the diary, the 13-year-old Coco appears, and the three take turns reading directly from the diary and acting out the scenes, with the two grown-ups playing multiple characters from old to young. Coco's escapades include getting caught stealing silverware at school to protest the dreadful lunches, sneaking out to dances, setting off the fire alarm, and otherwise getting into trouble "through no fault of her own." Through her writing, Coco emerges as a smart and precocious young woman with the world ahead of her; by all rights she should have grown up to be the governor living in that mansion, if only the opportunity were open to her (read about what really happened to Coco here).
|Dora Dolphin, Andrea Wollenberg, and Jake Endres|
(photo by Scott Pakudaitis)
Coco's Diary gives us a peek inside the mind of a 13-year-old, that anyone who knows a 13-year-old will recognize. The day-to-day activities may have changed (from dances and sailing on the lake to... whatever it is that kids do today), but that feeling of everything being of utmost importance is the same. A 13-year-old's diary is the perfect thing to dramatize, because no one does drama like a 13-year-old.
Coco's Diary continues through December 23.
*You can read about all of the holiday shows I've seen here.